Well, spring has finally sprung and the ‘real’ baseball season is finally underway. You see Jensen and his mates have been practicing for months indoors. I'm not kidding. The Minor As from Hepburn Lycoming were in the cages at the Liberty Arena quite often. They even took some ground balls at the beautiful new Sports Dome of the 17728 this winter. Okay. This former hoops junkie is starting to come around as I actually look forward to many great evenings at our magical ball field on 973.
Jensen is growing like a weed and of course nothing from last year fits. Meaning a complete makeover every season is a must. My eight year old and I ventured out to do some damage this past weekend. It was either shopping or watching Frozen at home with moms. #letitgospencer.
Man he needed everything. Pants, socks, helmet, eye black, cleats and a belt. "Coach Marc said I also need a new bat and glove." Did he now? But I can only SWING a few purchases a week kid. And back when I played no one had their own bat and we shared helmets and gloves. "Yeah. Yeah. You had to walk to practice in two feet of snow too." Well I did. #lovethatkid.
I won't mention the places we stopped, but Jensen and I were successful with the assist of one local southpaw.
Jensen wanted to go with an overpriced name brand shoe but I had a pair of cleats that were on clearance in my hand. Loyalsock's star pitcher Andrew Malone stepped up big and convinced J to go with mine. We spent the next few minutes chatting it up about NCAA hoops and the upcoming season. Andrew is gearing up for his senior campaign.
"I can't wait to get back on the mound," he explained. "It's been a great off season and we are ready to start playing."
Malone is one of the best in the area as he will pitch at Division 1 Mount St. Mary’s next fall. The crafty emotional left-hander can paint the corners with terrific control. He says he feels great in 2017 and has worked hard on his mechanics and added some velocity. Andrew will join a long list of Lancers to play at the next level. Malone was a contributing freshman when Datres, Glavin, Webb, Baggett and Moore were winning states.
"I learned so much from those guys and I continue to talk baseball with them as much as I can," Andrew continued. "But now it's our time to keep the Loyalsock baseball tradition alive."
Malone leads a talented bunch hoping to claim another District IV crown. He is very optimistic, "Our team is really gelling. We understand what is expected and will do whatever it takes."
Andrew Malone is a great kid. The smart and well-spoken, two-sport star is a blessing. He is a high honor roll student and plays with passion. Malone made Jensen's day by just being himself. He picked up a new fan in the process. I wish my friend and the rest of the local high school baseball teams well this season. Cheers.